Four Clan Kitchen

What we eat everyday

Archive for December, 2010

Norwegian Cardamom rolls (Hveteboller)

Posted by fourclankitchen on December 31, 2010

My husband’s grandfather raved about the  cardamom coffee buns his  (German/Scandinavian) aunt made for years.  His daughter,  JG finally found a recipe and satisfied his craving.  Ever since, these rolls have been family favorites.  We make them almost every Christmas and if we want them to last, they have to be hoarded out of sight for Christmas dinner.  This recipe is obviously not an original- as soon as I find out its source, I will post a reference here.

Norwegian Coffee Buns (Hveteboller)

2 packages active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water  105-110 F
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter
1 tsp. pulverized cardamom seeds (use a meat tenderizer or a coffee grinder, I like to taste the cardamom and prefer the former)
2 cups milk scalded in the microwave, brought down to lukewarm
6 – 61/2 cups all purpose flour (Start with 6)


1 slightly beaten egg
2 tbs.  milk.
(sugar for topping – omit if using as dinner rolls).

Dissolve yeast in warm water.  Add a pinch of sugar and let stand 5 min. till foamy.  Stir in the remaining sugar, salt, butter, cardmom, milk

Add half the flour, beat until smooth and satiny.  Add the remaining flour  slowly, stirring until the mixture will not absorb any more flour.  Let stand 15 min.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured board and knead until smooth and ssatiny, 5-10 min.  Wash bown, grease it with butter and place the dough in a bowl, turning to grease the top.  Cover and let rise until doubled- about 1 hour.

Turn dough onto a lightly oiled surface.  Divide into 24 parts.  Shape into smooth balls.

Grease  baking sheets. Place dough on the baking sheets and let rise until almost doubled, about 45 min.

Preheat oven to 375F.

Mix egg and milk and brush the rolls with the mixture using a pastry brush.  Bake for 15 min until golden.

Posted in baked, Breads, Breakfast, Brunch, Dessert, Side Dishes, Vegetarian | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Blueberry Coffee Cake

Posted by fourclankitchen on December 12, 2010


This is a light and delicious coffee cake that you would not feel guilty about eating for breakfast. It also uses up blueberries that you froze in the summer and now need to use up, so that you can stuff your freezer full of Christmas goodies.

Blueberry Coffee Cake slightly adapted from Cooking Light

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar+ 2 tbs. for sprinkling
6 Tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 cup whole milk yogurt + 1/3 cup water (or 1  1/3 cup buttermilk)
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (A 12 oz packet of Wild Maine frozen blueberries is best- drain for 1/2 hour in a colander before using)
2 Tablespoons dark brown sugar



Preheat oven to 350 deg F and place a rack in the center of the oven.

In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Using a stand or hand held mixer and a large bowl beat the butter and granulated sugar  for  two minutes.  The  add the vanilla, eggs and mix thoroughly.

Blend the yogurt with the water till its consistency resembles that of buttermilk.  Alternatively, use buttermilk (I have also made it with straight yogurt and it works fine).

Add flour mixture and the yogurt alternately to the sugar mixture and mix after each addition.

Smear an 8×8 metal baking pan with oil or butter.

Add half the batter to the pan.

Evenly pread 3/4 cup  blueberries on top of the batter.

Then spoon the remaining batter over the blueberries.  Finally,  sprinkle evenly with remaining blueberries. Sprinkle the top evenly with 4 tablespoons of  sugar.  You want the sugar to form a sort of crunchy top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Note:  Do not use very large blueberries- they release too much moisture and make the cake goopy.  Also, do not increase the amount of blueberries,  for the same reason.

Posted in baked, Breads, Breakfast, Brunch, Dessert | 2 Comments »

Saag Paneer (Spinach and Cubed Cheese, plus a whole lot more)

Posted by fourclankitchen on December 5, 2010

Saag Paneer or Palak Paneer is standard fare in Indian restaurants around the world.  In my opinion, Indian restaurants ruin Indian food for the large part.  First, most of what you can get is Mughlai (Northwestern) cuisine, which is inspired by the festive  foods served in the Mughal Courts of Old Delhi. The other great cuisines of India are really not represented and this is a shame.  Second, mughlai food is rich stuff and uses milk products (yogurt, butter, clarified butter/ghee and cream) liberally, but judiciously.  Other flavors are  allowed a prime spot and make each dish unique, but still Mughlai.  Not so in most Indian restaurants, were the ready availability of cream, ghee etc.  make excess easy.  So Saag Paneer, which ought to be predominantly flavored with yogurt, tomato and spinach and finished with a bit of cream, is essentially turned into creamed spinach with Indian spices. This excess of  oil, butter and cream leaves you feeling not so good as you exit an Indian restaurant.

Real people don’t eat like this as every one knows.  Homemade saag paneer is mostly enriched with yogurt, which brigtens the dark and metallic taste of the spinach.

The non-traditional version that I describe below gets away from the cream fest and packs in as many vegetables in a cubic mm.  as possible.  I used yellow squash and chard stems here as thickeners and then  packed in the onions, tomatoes and spinach. The paneer/cubed Indian non-melting cheese is added in the end and the saag wraps around it as it thickens.


1/2 pound fresh baby spinach – about 6-7  packed cups, thoroughly rinsed.
3 large vine ripened tomatoes
1 cup cherry tomatoes
5 chard stems (no leaves). Omit if you dont have them or substitute with an extra summer squash
2 small summer squashes, peeled, seeded and chopped coarsely
1/4 small bell pepper,  coarsely chopped
1 anaheim pepper, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 inch ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped

1/2 cup cilantro, rinsed  (optional)

2 tbs. oil
1 tbs. butter
Seeds of 4 cardmoms, lightly crushed

1 tsp. cumin seeds

1/4  tsp. cinnamon powder

1/4 tsp. turmeric

1 tsp. powdered cumin

1 tsp.  Hungarian sweet paprika

Salt to taste

2 tbs. whole milk yogurt (I use Brown Cow)

1/2 cup water


1. Coarsely chop and then pulse  the green peppers, peeled ginger and garlic in a food processor and set aside.

2. Next, coarsely chop and mince the onions in the food processor.  Now you are ready to start cooking and can chop the rest of the stuff as you go along.

3. Heat oil and butter in a large pot, preferably a dutch oven and add the cardamom and cumin seeds, followed by the pepper, ginger, garlic mix.  Lightly fry till fragrant, then add the onions and the cinnamon powder.   While the onions are frying (about 5 min), pulse the chard stems and squash in the food processor to a coarse mince. Add to the onions and continue frying till the onion mixes begins to soften (another 10 min).

4. Meanwhile, pulse the tomatoes in the food processor till coarsely pureed. Add to the onion mix.  Mix thoroughly , add about 1/2 tsp of salt, then cover the pot with a lid.  Lower the flame to a medium low and let the tomatoes-onion mix melt to a mush-about 20 min.  Then take of the lid and let most of the liquid dry off.  You are now caramelizing the onions and tomatoes.  Ideally you would continue this till the onions and tomatoes release oil- I can’t stand to wait, so I get half way and then get on with it.  It tastes pretty good anyway.

5. Now add the turmeric, paprika, cumin and incorporate into the onion mix, frying 1-2 min.  Then add the yogurt, a tbs. at a time and stir until fully incorporated-about 2-3 min more.  Now add the spinach and 1/4 cup cilantro and mix again.  Cover with a lid and allow the leaves to wilt -about 5 min or so.  Let the spinach cook for another few minutes.  Taste and adjust the salt.

6. While the spinach is cooking, brown the paneer cubes.  You can either do this in a cast iron griddle, by adding a little bit of oil and then browning the paneer cubes on both sides (about 5-7 min total).  Or you can deep fry the cubes for 2-3 min so that they are brown on all sides.  Lightly salt the paneer cubes.

7. Add the remaining cilantro to the the spinach mix in the food processor.  Put it back in the dutch oven, add the water and simmer for a few minutes.  Then add the paneer.  Simmer for a few minutes more.   The sauce will thicken as it cools.

Serve with rice or any flat bread, along with raita or plain yogurt.

Use the saag as a basic sauce for potatoes, tofu or chicken, by simmering each in the saag and omitting the paneer.

Posted in Asian, Indian Food, Main Dishes, Vegetarian | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

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